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October 30, 2016

There are two NFL Sunday picks.

#1: Take New England Patriots -6 spread against Buffalo Bills for 3% of the bankroll.

This is not likely to be a good day for Buffalo. Yes, Rex Ryan's crew has been playing well recently having won 4 of their last 5 games, however, they are about to run into a buzz saw this afternoon when they close their regular season series with the New England Patriots. These two teams met back in Week 4 in Foxboro and is was the Buffalo Bills who managed to walk off the field with a victory, in somewhat surprising fashion. It was a big statement win for not only the team, but also Rex Ryan who has shown his disdain for all things New England. That being said, things have changed since their first meeting this season and we expect a much different result this afternoon.

It’s important to note that even though Buffalo won the first meeting, they didn’t have to face Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady in that contest. Brady was serving the final game of his 4 game suspension when these teams met earlier this season and wasn't able to participate in that matchup. Buffalo upset New England a day before Brady was able to rejoin his team. New England could easily be undefeated on the season had Brady been allowed to play, but the fact remain that they are 6-1 on the season and Buffalo is responsible for that lone loss. There is no question that no only Brady himself, but his entire team will be motivated to atone for that loss and will come out in this game looking for revenge.  

Bill Belichick is arguably one of the best coaches in the history of the game. There is no question that he has reviewed the game film and gone over what worked well and more importantly, what didn't work well in the first meeting. He is a master strategist and will undoubtedly have a game plan ready to slow down the Buffalo offense and put his team in the very best to pick up the victory.  

It's also worth mentioning that Buffalo RB, LeSean McCoy was a huge factor in the first meeting. McCoy and the ground attack shredded the Patriots defense for 134 yards on the ground, but McCoy was also deadly in the passing game as well, catching balls out of the backfield and gaining chunks of yards at a time. McCoy has been ruled out of this matchup which is certainly a blow to the Buffalo offense. It also takes a little bit of pressure off of the Patriots defense. Shady is a gamechanger and a player that typically needs to be keyed-in on and often double-teamed. With him out of the game, it will allow the front 7 and secondary to focus more on the defending the passing game and containing QB Tyrod Taylor. McCoy being out provides one less distraction for New England to deal with.

Buffalo is in a unique position to pull off the season sweep of the Patriots; however, history has indicated that that has been a losing proposition. The New England Patriots have yet to be swept by a divisional rival dating all the way back to the 2002 season! In fact, the Patriots are the only team in the league who have not been swept by a rival in a season. Given how well the Patriots have been playing and the fact that Brady will undoubtedly be looking for retribution, we don't believe today is the day that Buffalo re-writes the history books.

 As we have seen many times in the past, the New England Patriots are a methodical and very deliberate team. They rarely take plays-off and consistently keep their foot on the gas pedal. They are a team that is coached to play right up until the final whistle that signals the game is over. It's this type of mindset and drive that has allowed this team to cover larger than average spreads. Even though the Patriots are on the road, the spread, being where it is, is actually very manageable given the numerous advantages and motivating factors in the Patriots favor. We don't often like to ride with public opinion, but this is certainly one situation where we believe the sharps and public are on the correct side. This game may be close in the early going but we expect the Patriots to pull away in the second half and come away with a rather convincing win and cover.

#2: Take Houston Texans -1 spread (buy half a point) against Detroit Lions for 3% of the bankroll.

Everyone is down on Brock Osweiler heading into this matchup and has been talking about what a waste of money he's been since signing that lucrative off-season contract! He has been poor but in our opinion, he can change that as he's capable of doing a lot better. Some of the criticism sent his way has been fair; Others unjustified and over the top. He's not the first QB to struggle in the first half of the season after nailing down a true starting job and is likely to learn from his mistakes.

The Texans are undefeated at NRG Stadium having won all 4 games at home! This is a team that has enjoyed great home field advantage recently and has also fared very well as a favorite. Bill O'Brien does a masterful job of motivating his locker room following losses and after an embarrasing performance against the Broncos on national TV, we believe they'll be fired up and raring to go. The entire Houston squad has a lot to prove in this game and finds itself in a great bounce-back spot.

The same can't be said about the Lions. They've won 3 in a row and might just have a false sense of security building in their mindset. Furthermore with a divisional matchup coming up after this against Minnesota Vikings, it wouldn't surprise us if they had one eye on that game. Keep in mind that the Lions were actually outgained (yards) in all 3 of those recent victories! They've won some close games but still have a lot of fundamental issues, particularly on the defensive end. The Detroit defense is allowing the highest passer rating (117) to opposite QBs in the league! They are on pace to set historic records with figures like that, which include allowing quarterbacks they face to complete 74% of their passes! Put it simply, Osweiler is likely to find this game a lot easier than facing Denver's outstanding defense and should have a breakout game.

The fact that the Lion's best cornerback, Darius Slay, is likely to miss this contest only adds to their problems! He's been in inspirational form this season and has established himself as a leader for this beleagured secondary. We believe his absence will benefit one of the best receivers in NFL, DeAndre Hopkins and the rest of the gang. This is a game that the Texans must win if they want to retain their #1 spot in the AFC South standings. The Titans are suddenly surging and the Colts have historically proven that despite slow starts, they aren't done just yet. Given that any margin of victory is good enough to also cover the spread, there's great value in siding with the hosts this afternoon.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Bill O'Brien's team has won 15 of 17 games when installed as the favorite!
  • Detroit defense ranks dead last in NFL on 3rd downs, moving the chain 51% of the time!
  • Houston Texans are 6-1 before their bye week when facing a team that has won less than 60% of its games.

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